The Northwest Boreal Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NWB LCC) is a partnership between agencies involved in land management across Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and British Columbia. The NWB LCC aims to coordinate science and support to decision makers for improving land management decisions. Knowledge gaps have been identified by the NWB LCC and are beginning to be filled. One of the priority information gaps is knowledge of the anthropogenic footprint currently on the landscape.
The anthropogenic footprint is all the disturbance types made by various human activities, usually through some form of industrial development. Examples include roads, power lines, pipelines, and clear cuts among many others. The spatial extent of this footprint helps land managers determine where disturbance levels may become an issue requiring active management or where sites can be set aside for conservation purposes that currently have limited development. Acquiring a baseline of the current anthropogenic footprint also provides an opportunity to measure future growth of the various land use activities. Identifying areas of high disturbance or trends in type and/or extent of the footprint may also allow mitigation measures to be enacted to achieve the NWB LCC vision of “a landscape that sustains functioning, resilient boreal ecosystems and associated cultural resources in perpetuity”.
Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is one of the many partners involved in the NWB LCC. We also have an interest in what the current anthropogenic footprint is on the landscape. We want to know where waterfowl and their wetland habitats are located relative to various development activities to better understand potential impacts. Working with the NWB LCC, DUC undertook a project to compile all known spatial datasets that are publicly available to provide an initial assessment of the spatial extent of anthropogenic disturbances within the Canadian portion of the NWB LCC boundaries. Geodatabases were created to house and manage this data along with associated metadata and a data catalogue. This report outlines how data was collected, how the database was organized, and the limitations and caveats associated with the data compiled.